Black metal is interesting for many reason. while the style can be taken in wild directions, the sound can also stay in the relative middle as be enhanced with nuance and subtlety. I do not know if tin whistles constitute subtlety but for now we are going to assume it is apart of slight nuance. Aura is the second record from Scottish based Saor. “Saor” in old Irish has a loose meaning of “free man.” What ever is about to transpire, there is a strong sentiment of unchained spirits.
Saor is relative to my interests for many reasons. First of all the project is headed by one individual Andy Marshall which puts it into the great style of one person black metal. Saor also infuses Celtic folk elements which are more recognizable than bands like Primordial but also less flouncy than bands like Aes Dana. Saor exhibits a great deal of restraint in not stepping over the line of what is considered Celtic metal or at least metal with a bunch of bagpipes. Saor’s creator does use folk elements to make the music distinguishable from other atmospheric black metal though something tells me that Aura would have been a great record regardless of extraneous instruments. Aside from all of the other elements lies a well told story.
Aura is a long record. With 5 songs all over or near the 10 minute mark, the record allows the listener to get acquainted with the rolling hills of the Highlands. Though the main attraction is shrieking vocals, the combination of choral chants, folk instrumentation, and a general disposition to educate rather than destroy makes Aura an enjoyable record for people that may not be fans of black metal. Alright, maybe not but Aura could be a record which people could work towards. This is a record which seems to be important for its creator and is something that commands more attention that most.